Jun 22, 2008

Calling Twombly fans

From “Cy Twombly: Cycles and Seasons”, a 107-piece show at the Tate Modern, curated by Nicholas Serota in celebration of the Twombly’s 80th birthday. It is the artist’s first solo display in 15 years. In an article in the NYRB, John Updike, attempting to answer the question "What is American about American art?" homes in on the word 'liney' as applied to the work of John Copley:—
A line is a child's first instrument of depiction, the boundary where one thing ends and another begins. The primitive artist is more concerned with what things are than what they look like to the eye's camera. Lines serve the facts.... In the art-sparse, mercantile world of the American colonies, Copley's lavish literalism must have seemed fair dealing, a heaping measure of value paid in shimmering textures and scrupulously fine detail.... Two centuries after Jonathan Edwards sought a link with the divine in the beautiful clarity of things, William Carlos Williams wrote, in introducing his long poem Paterson, that "for the poet there are no ideas but in things." No ideas but in things. The American artist, first born into a continent without museums and art schools, took Nature as his only instructor, and things as his principle study. A bias toward the empirical, toward the evidential object in the numinous fullness of its being, leads to a certain lininess, as the artist intently maps the visible in a New World that feels surrounded by chaos and emptiness.
I like that: liney. It explains what I like about Lichtenstein, Looney Tunes and Pixar, too.

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